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WASHINGTON— Department of Defense officials have decided to hold off on requiring soldiers to wear improved body armor until manufacturers lessen the heaviness of new protective plates.  The decision came after an audit by the Defense Department inspector general’s office said the current plates were tested improperly and may not provide adequate protection to soldiers.  After learning of the audit’s claims, the Army disputed the conclusion but still plans to initially buy 120,000 sets of advanced bullet-blocking plates this year.  The new gear, however, will be stored in Kuwait and available to commanders and their troops if needed.

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